Teams Torn Down? Three Strategies to Lift Them Up—and Sustain!
All teams are going to experience struggles. There will be internal circumstances, external circumstances and sometimes both kinds of factors coming into play.
So when you, as a leader or manager, notice your teams dragging or coming across as torn down and dysfunctional, the #1 thing you want to do—the most important action you want to take—is to recognize it in the first place.
Because the temptation may be to shy away from this challenge and shift focus elsewhere. Or shirk responsibility, perhaps passing the buck or denying the teamwork troubles altogether.
And the truth is, great leaders learn to recognize the symptoms of poor teamwork—things like communication issues, distrust, high employee turnover, gossip, poor decision-making, low morale, etc. But, just as importantly, they don’t fear it and deal with it effectively.
At MAP, we know solid teamwork directly helps build and sustain accountability. We look to great examples in everyday life as well as in history, plus lean on education, our proven practices, and real application to coach our clients. Drawing from that, here are some tips to start using today…action items that can make a difference in not just teamwork but your leadership impact around this topic as well:
- Make teamwork a value. Make sure your teams know that this value is essential to every aspect of your organization’s success and its ability to remain accountable to goals and get results. Communicate the importance of this value—and why it matters—in job descriptions, during interviews, in both team and individual meetings, and during regular performance reviews.
- Walk your talk. Great teamwork starts with you. So commit to upholding best teamwork practices, like not playing favorites, holding people equally accountable to goals, avoiding the “buddy trap” with employees, stopping gossip in its tracks, and attacking the problems, not the people when addressing challenges and creating solutions. And of these and other common offenders, ask yourself honestly how you may be contributing to the teamwork troubles. If you don’t know, ask a mentor, trusted colleague or advisor…then develop an immediate plan of action to address your pitfalls.
- Empower your people. Many teams struggle with collaboration because they don’t feel empowered. Whether missing vital soft skills, hard skills or a mix of both, the deficit impacts performance and accountability. Speaking of which, if you don’t have a customized system for accountability like the MAP Management System, it can be really hard to develop direction, provide structure around goals and controls, and adequately identify how to lift and set your teams up for success. So if you haven’t already, start by putting that framework in place AND then get your teams the support, tools, and resources they need to feel empowered and achieve within that accountability system.
Looking for a fun, engaging way to build teamwork? Consider a MAP Film Series Program to generate engagement, high-level discussion and real change around collaboration, accountability and other vital business management topics.